Toyota May Bring a Little Pickup to the U.S.

Toyota announed that they are going to increase production of their RAV4 small SUV by more than 25 percent, even though sales levels of the vehicle are down for the first quarter of this year. And there can only be one reason.

Automotive News (subscription may be necessary to view) is reporting that Toyota will be increasing prodction at its Woodstock, Ontario, Canada plant from a total of 150,000 to 200,000 units with the help of an $80 million investment in the plant. 

A spokewoman for the company said there is no plans to move all RAV4 production to North America, and the only thing being announced is a significant boost in prodction. 

Scion-xB-Pichup-Concept-3 II
From our perspective, the only reason for this huge increase would be either they know there will be huge surge in RAV4 sales coming or there will be another vehicle built off that same platform. No doubt, if it were a Toyota model, they'd likely be more liklely to create a unique platform to more directly serve some new niche. However, if it was for a sister brand that was trying to be more efficient with a big brother's resources, that would make more sense. 

It has long been rumored that Scion is interested in a pickup-truck-like vehicle that could easily appeal to a younger buying segment that clearly doesn't want to be seen in an average-looking vehicle.

Creating some kind of downsizd A-BAT or GMC Granite on a RAV4 platform might be exactly what Scion needs to create a big splash in the market and increase their rebellious counter-mainstream credibility. It could also lead the way for an industry that has been scared to death to invest in the compact and midsize pickup segment. Even a moderate sales hit here could lure others into a growing, entry-level segment where both powertrain and design technology could be key separators from the larger, relatively conservative, pickup truck segment. 

No doubt there will be other announcement about exactly what Toyota will do with the extra production capacity and volume, but no matter what happens, it looks like a little risk taking could lead to a huge payoff.  

Granite Compact Pickup II

Scion XP pickup II


They need to concentrate on getting the Tundra right 1st.


Same can be said about all the makers and their models. Every vehicle has both it's +'s and -'s. Bashing brands or models off the start with this article is pretty weak.

@KMS - The past 2 Tundra generations were train wrecks... not a very good resumé when it comes to making trucks.

Sorry, but what is the problem with the Tundra? I own the 1st gen quad cab and my brother and my friend both own the current gen and they are awesome trucks... I have similar mileage (approx 95,000 mi) as my friend’s Ford F150, I have had no repairs - 0 - still have original spark plugs, my friends F150 has gone through a new tranny, water pump and fuel pump, not to mention how many warped rotors, interior pieces rattling and breaking - oh yeah, the controller that handles the power windows & locks had to be replaced under warranty! So again, how is the Tundra wrong, weak or a train wreck????????

weak frames, torque converter/transmission problems, bad ball joints, premature engine failures, gellin' engines, camshaft issues...

Current generation frames have a ton of flex to them, and don't dare take them offroading (see the tundra on the proving grounds)

Just to name a few.

I forgot driveshafts, buckling tailgates, slip yoke failures on 4wd models

These days small should be a good investment. I hope they ditch those tiresome square brick Scion designs.

Sorry, but what is the problem with the Tundra?

Mike Levine said it best:

"I'm not sure how you measure "catching up" but beyond an excellent powertrain, the 2nd gen Tundra has been a laggard. Three years in and it still doesn't offer an integrated trailer brake controller. Trailer sway control for 2011 will only brake the truck's wheels, not the trailer's too. GM and Ford beat Tundra's fuel economy."

"I'll mention some quality issues too: cracked tailgates, rear driveline, unloaded ride quality. In 2010 JD Power Quality Survey, Tundra quality problems jumped from 88 problems per 100 vehicles to 100 problems."

"I hope Toyota gets the engineering and features right in the next Tundra. I'll be the first to stand up and applaud."

- Mike Levine

Hey Oxi...Say hello to the new Tacoma! Have fun blazing the Baja 1000 in your new Scion Tacoma.

My company has 12 Gen-1 and-2 Tundra's, used to haul light to medium loads out thru oil fields ect. No problems to speak of usually lease to about 100K miles.

Meanwhile my personal 2005 2500 dodge diesel has had all injectors replaced at 42K, new front driveline replaced at 56K, new front ball joints at 58K, complet auto tranny overhaul ($3K) at 86K. Dealer can't seem to keeo AC working for more than 3 summer months, on third try now. Truck has never towed more than 6500 lbs.

It would be cake for Toyota to take over the near-nonexistent, yet demanded segment of compact pickup trucks with a Scion sport truck. Yes, it would be s-talked by readers for copying GM's Australian offerings, but to the American car and truck-buying public, it would be something new and fresh. Single cab only, put in a 6-speed and the same 4.0 v6 that the Tacoma has, an option for the smaller Tundra v8, and an AWD option. 1200 pounds payload is all it needs to be practical for many people.

To all of you Tundra bashers - even though it "jumped" from 88 problems to 100 problems per 100 it still scores better than any other pickup. JD Power still gives it the best ratings. I don't know of any pickup manufacturer that makes a perfect pickup. The industry average per nameplate is 151 problems per 100 vehicles.

The only thing wrong with the Tundra is it is just plain UGLY, but other than that it looks all right.

Now if Toyota makes a nice mini-truck off of the RAV4 platform then I might bite. Just a small, handy, fuel efficient little bugger for zipping around with a lawnmower or two, and about a 750 to 1,000 lbs payload. I could see a good market for this.

Let's just wait and see what they come up with.

nuff said:

"To all of you Tundra bashers - even though it "jumped" from 88 problems to 100 problems per 100 it still scores better than any other pickup"


@Dave - I was refering to JD Power data. If I made an error in posting JD Power Data please post the correct information.

"Looking for a reliable used pickup? Toyota trucks from the 2008 model year rank highest in the latest J.D. Power and Associates vehicle dependability study.

The study measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of three-year old vehicles. It includes 202 different problem symptoms across powertrain, body and interior and feature and accessory dependability. Overall dependability is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

In 2011, overall vehicle dependability averages 151 PP100 — the lowest problem rate among used vehicles since the inception of the study in 1990 — and improves from 170 PP 100 in 2009.

In the “Midsize Pickup” category, the 2008 Toyota Tacoma was ranked most dependable, followed by the Honda Ridgeline. No other models in this segment performed above the segment average.

The 2008 Toyota Tundra was the award recipient in the “Large Truck” category. The Dodge Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 were honorable mentions."

I stand by what I have said.

toyota needs to leave the full size pick up market at once.

they did better in the 80' and 90's those were very realiable compact trucks.

You are referring to a different study than Mike Levine is. Also, your link is for 2008 trucks. Isn't that the last gen?

Mike was referring to the JD Power quality studies which are for the CURRENT gen.

Here are the findings.

In 2009, Tundra and F-150 were #1 and both tied with 88 problems per 100. Great! This was the only year they were #1 but being tied with Ford they did not score better.

In 2010, here is where Tundra went in the opposite direction and the point of Mike Levine at the time. F-150 lowered its problems in 2010 to 85 problems per 100. But Tundra increased to 100 problems. F-150 would have won but Chevy Avalanche and Sierra LD Duty did even better. This year Ram also scored better than the Tundra, going from 130 problems to 98. That's a nice improvement. That places Tundra at 5th in large pickups.

In 2011, F-150 was number one. Tundra was second. I can't find the actual number of problems per 100 anywhere.

PS The industry quality average was 107 problems per 100 for 2011 and 109 for 2010. Eventhough Tundra was still above average, there was strong evidence that Tundra's build quality was sliding.

Since we are talking small trucks, the Toyota Tacoma was shut out of JD Power’s small truck quality awards for 2011. The winner in the small truck category was the Ridgeline, followed by the Nissan Frontier and, the Ram Dakota.

Yeah, this looks like an uber flop. The bed is so small it won't matter what the payload capacity is because nothing will fit in it. A Ridgeline-like truck could work very well with a foldable midgate and standard bed extender since those two features turn a mid-size truck into a full size truck bed. This little tiny nothing will be less useful than a CUV with the rear seats folded down.

If people are going to compete in the smaller truck/better mileage/unibody category it will need a (very) updated Honda Ridgeline, Dodge coming through on the Rampage concept, or something similar.

Why anyone would buy this truck instead of a Kia Sorento is completely lost on me.

The 2nd gen Tundra the only truck certified by the SAE to tow more than 10,000lbs has a "weak frame" and its "frame has a ton of flex" and yet you can give no information on a 2nd gen Tundra that has a rusted, bent or broken frame. If you cant find any information on a 2nd gen Tundra with one of those problems I will settle for any kind of accident report thats states Tundra's frame was the reason.
People make it sound like Toyota didnt design the frame to flex #3 which validates what this guy said
Now I wasnt present for Toyota's gimmicky Tundra Deconstructed but my guess is when the Tundra was used as a 3/4 Ton work truck the frame probably flexed a lot then sprung back to its natural position when unloaded. All I am asking for is for someone to show me where the 2nd gen Tundra's frame flex caused a problem because all my info says it works the way Toyota designed it.

As for the bed bounce which Ford showed in its gimmicky video here is what a Ford employee had to say about what Toyota did about it

As for the Tundra's lack of a ITBC Tundra bashers you are right Toyota should have offered a factory one by now. I just want to note that the SAE Towing Rating makes you do it without

@Dave - "Initial Quality" is different than "Durability". "Initial quality" is based on problems reported in the first 3 months of ownership. If someone finds the windshield wiper controls difficult to use, that counts as a problem. Ford for example has gotten beat up really badly in "Inital Quality" due to its MyTouch system. JD Power data on "Durability" is based on vehicles that have been in service for 3 years and owned by the same owner over that time. 2011 results are from the 2008 model. It is the only way to truly assess durability.
Unfortunately the 2 ratings are frequently mixed up. That is the case in our discussion. That does not change the fact that year after year (despite all of the alleged Tundra problems) it still rates as one of the most durable.

Never seems to amaze me on this site, no matter what brand/model the story is about it always turns into a bash fest.

@Lou - Not sure why you are harping on used pickup truck studies when we are clearly discussing new trucks. Tundras are not out in the fields working so they don't get used as much. Toyotas are mostly grocery getters or play trucks.

@Dave - The 2008 Tundras are an earlier version, but still the current gen. Mike Levine was correct that the quality was sliding on some later models. It seems Toyota has some work cut out for them and even Tundra Headquarters agrees that it was more than just recalls. I agree with Mike - I will be the second to stand up appalud if they get it right on the 3rd gen.

Tundra’s Problems More Than Just Recalls

Unfortunately, there’s strong evidence that the Tundra’s build quality is sliding. While the Tundra’s quality is still above average (even with the recall), the 2010 Tundra had 100 problems per 100 vehicles in the JD Power Study. It’s certainly possible that the Tundra would have been #1 again were it not for the recall, but not as likely. 2010 Tundras had a somewhat common VVT-i issue that likely would have hurt quality ratings even if the recall hadn’t happened.

While it’s not as if Toyota quality has now transitioned to “poor,” overall quality improvements at Ford, GM, and Chrysler-Fiat means that Toyota has got their work cut out for them.

Tom, No offense to Lou, but a study of a current gen 2008 Tundra vs last gen F-150 and Ram isn't a true comparison of what the makers are selling TODAY. Ford and Ram particularly have been increasing quality since the last gens. A more accurate study will be the initial quality studies as they at least cover CURRENT model trucks.

It could also mean the Tundra had the lowest problems because it was used the least for work. There is no real world data for people who are using their Tundras as work trucks. I also believe strongly that Tundra and Toyota owners have tons of pride in their trucks, as evidenced here and on the forums, and they would give high marks even if it had a few small problems.

A couple more points to ponder about used trucks...

When less trucks are sold, less problems occur and less problems are reported.

Likewise, consider how the Ranger dominated the small truck catagories. Is the Ranger the best pickup? A few of the highest rated vehicles for accessory/feature reliability are vehicles that have virtually NO accessories or features, like the Ranger, Tundra, or GM twins.

Additionally, most people agree that the Tacoma is the best small truck but they can't even get a nod in inditial quality and has scored the lowest in dependability studies. Both fails.

In the real world the Tundra being a laggard both in sales and in testing.

They need to concentrate on getting the Tundra right 1st.


More importantly, they need to concentrate on the Tacoma before they bring in any other little trucks.

Dependability lowest...

Tacoma Quality among the lowest...

What is going on here?

@Dave - The Toyota Tacoma used to be the leader in its class but it is not anymore. Cue oxi...

There's small and then there's pointless.

I just don't get all of the haters on this site.

This pickup is just another option in the market that may or may not fit your needs. I am sure the Ford fans would love for some sort of Ranger to come back as they don't make anything less than a 1/2-ton.

All of the BS about the Tundra's issues are simply overblown, or purposeful misinformation.

A few folks in my family all bought new trucks at about the same time. My Tundra is the ONLY one that has not gone in for work. In fact, I had to tow my Dad's ~9000lb enclosed trailer when his Dodge CTD stranded him for the 3rd time in 3 months due to the DPF system. Roadside assistance would haul his truck away, but not his trailer... .

"In 2010 JD Power Quality Survey, Tundra quality problems jumped from 88 problems per 100 vehicles to 100 problems." - Matt's quote of Mike Levine

"To all of you Tundra bashers - even though it "jumped" from 88 problems to 100 problems per 100 it still scores better than any other pickup. JD Power still gives it the best ratings." - Lou's response to Mike Levine

Who is telling the truth? Here are the FACTS.

JD Power Quality Survey

1) F150 / Tundra (tied) 88 problems

1) Chevy Avalanche 81 problems
2) Sierra 1500 81
3) F-150 85
4) Ram 98 (down from 138)
5) Tundra 100 (up from 88)

Now you have the rest of the story.

Toyota has serious mechanical issues,just look at their recalls..

Lexus engines failing,needing rebuild/replacement

Shattering side glass on Corolla's

Bad steering/loss of steering

Uncontrolled excelleration

Blowing up camshafts

Cracking tailgates

Rusting frames

Bad welds on Sienna vans front doors pop open at speed

Bad ball joints,failing transmissions ect..

Major engine sludge issues

Consumers a joke only the ones that dont have problems report,and easily manipulated results,do they record all results or pick and chose ? The way the media is totally biased one would think these results are screwed as Toyota has unreliable vehicles as noted in major problematic recalls in recent history..

By the way I owned a Toyota product (Lexus) and it was the most problematic vehicle ever..engine failed at 4000 miles,many electrical problems (my driver seat actually moved forward/reverse,up/down while doing 80 on the highway) I got smart and tradded it in at 11,000 miles and 1.5 years old.My sister has a 2010 Camry and cold start ups it has a major engine knock ,dealer serviced 5000 miles on the clock,they say its normal!! It sounds like a 1990's Diesel truck when cold,is that normal ? For Toyota it is !! Funny my Nieces 2000 Neon runs smooth and quiet,yet her moms new Toyota runs rougher and noisey,Toyota quality!!

I even remember years ago consumers was saying reliability/quality doesnt mean the car is mechanically sound and reliable it means the perception of it is reliable..Not that the car will start up and take you their with no fuss,but if you sit inside the radio works and you feel good but it doesnt start that is quyality !! So from that point on I know these consumers reports are bogus !!

Getting back to the article at hand this is a good move for Toyota. A true compact truck is long over due and would attract many younger people to the truck market that would have never even looked at a truck. I like both the A-bat and the GMC Granite design. I know people that have Tundras and they have been exceptional. I have a neighbor that has a 2007 crewcab Chevy Silverado with over 150k on it and it has heated leather seats and the works. He has had almost zero problems. He had a Ford before and the heads went and he had trouble. I have known people that have Fords and they have been trouble free. Let's get off this brand bashing that has occurred more and more. You can get a great truck or a lemon on any brand. I hope Toyota goes ahead with the A-bat but I really would like to see the pre-Tacoma compact truck of the 80s and 90s make a come back.

@Mike Levine

"I'm not sure how you measure "catching up" but beyond an excellent powertrain, the 2nd gen Tundra has been a laggard. Three years in and it still doesn't offer an integrated trailer brake controller. Trailer sway control for 2011 will only brake the truck's wheels, not the trailer's too. GM and Ford beat Tundra's fuel economy."

"I hope Toyota gets the engineering and features right in the next Tundra. I'll be the first to stand up and applaud."

- Mike Levine

Mike Levine I see a lot of people seem to quote you for questioning Toyota's engineering well I don't think your the Judge I think the SAE is with their standards are the bar for good engineering.
1.Address Heat Tranny and engine- and now the Tundra's stock radiator
3. Acceleration testing 0-30 Tundra 4.30 axle ratio with a low gearing 6 speed tranny and a V8 stroked to 5.7L (GM tall axle ratios and Ram Tall tranny gearing. Now 0-60 testing (GM 5.3L towing more than 10,000lbs should be eliminated.) Now lets look at 40-60 (sorry Nissan and 5.3L) Toyota thanks for making that stroked out V8 a large 4v DOHC.
5. Managing your load and as you said Toyota added trailer sway.
6. Turning Radius (sorry Ford).
7. Braking while towing WITHOUT ITBC
8. Braking on a steep grade WITHOUT ITBC
The engineering Test for 7 and 8 says your ITBC is now decoration and your going to have to rely on 4 massive oversized disk brakes (sorry GM).

Now as for Tundra's frame MR. Levine please point out where the SAE said you couldnt have any frame flex. Mr levine I dissagree with you about Tundra's engineering as it appears somebody studied for the test as they are the only 1/2 Ton SAE certified and when the day comes that the F150 or any other trucks tow rating becomes SAE certified is I will be the first to stand up and applaud.

looks like you can measure the ground clerance with a feeler gauge!

que the Toyota haters...

That should have been 4v per cylinder DOHC.

small alright for 1st year... but after the american junk foods it will be fat, overweigh, big... if you know what i mean...

@Nate - Quote "When less trucks are sold, less problems occur and less problems are reported."
These statistics are averages. A larger number of reported problems in a larger sample size will be ballanced out by the sample size. If 1,000 Tundra's had a problem in 100,000 units that equals 1 problem per 100. That would be the same as 10,000 F150's with a problem out of 1,000,000. A larger sample size will be more likely to "dilute" unusual failures like broken spark plugs versus failed camshafts.

The whole used truck versus new argument to invalidate my post is an interesting ploy.
Yes, you can argue that data on used trucks does not apply to new ones, but there isn't any real way to assess the durability of a product unsess it has been in service a long time.
The Tundra has been out since 2007 and as correctly stated, it hasn't changed much in those 5 years. So is it inaccurate to look at durability data (what broke or wore out) on the used version of the same unchanged truck?
The F150 is a new model in 2009. The current durability data is based on statistics on the 2008 model. There isn't a huge difference in drivetrain between a 2007 and 2008 unlike 2010 and 2011. In the case of the 2011 trucks you could not extrapolate data. You could not take data on my 5.4 to say the 5.0 is going to be "Durable" or long lasting.
INITIAL QUALITY - please note the "INITIAL" part. That is problems in the first 3 months.

Here is an interesting quote about "Initial Quality:

"J.D. Power continues to assert that a low number of problems during the first 90 days of ownership should allay any concerns a car buyer might have about a car’s quality. But of course car buyers are most concerned about how a car will hold up in the long run.
Initial quality sometimes correlates with long-term durability, but there’s only a partial connection between the two. Initial quality can result from solid engineering, which will also benefit long-term durability. But strong initial quality can also follow from thorough inspections at the plant or dealer. Such inspections can catch and fix problems that happen to occur before delivery, but aren’t likely to reduce problems down the road."

This table shows initial quality by name plate.
The only US companies above average are GMC and Cadillac. Ford is way down the list at 116 PP100. Like I said earlier, that big drop is due mostly to "My Touch". Does the Initial Quality mean that Ford is unreliable and will not be "Durable" in the long run?

The most important aspect of any data is trending. Is the trend towards improvement or deterioration. This table shows an overall improvement in Initial Quality for "carry over" vehicles. There was a similar trend for "new" vehicles except in 2011 where we have seen a worsening in Initial Quality. Experts blame "electronic gismos" for that worsening.

We have no choice other than to base our current purchace decisions on past information and experience.

I find it really odd that as the owner of a 2010 F150 SuperCrew, I have to defend my comments about Toyota trucks.

Sorry - here is the table on Initial Quality trends:

I think that a small truck that is closer in size to the very first offerings in NA probably would do okay in sales. Offering such a vehicle based on a current platform would decrease start up costs and improve the chance of making a profit for the manufacture even if it were a low volume seller. Soaring fuel prices will improve the odds of success for such a vehicle.
Unless you need a truck for work, a truck is a lifestyle choice, and therefore a luxury item. I bought mine to carry toys, boats, pull camper trailers, and everything associated with recreational pursuits. If I can't afford to put fuel in it, I will reassess my lifestyle choices.
I am in the same boat as many people with trucks. Where does the "cut off" lie, the point at which I cannot afford to buy fuel for my truck? I hope that I never have to find out.
It would be more reassuring to know that a plan B or Plan C truck/trucklet exists. The current small trucks aren't much more economical (to buy or fuel up) than what I drive. I'd like to see a bigger economy gap between large, mid sized and small trucks. The Fiat trucklet shown elsewhere is already in service, how hard would it be for that little thing to come to NA?
We do need more truck choices!


Tundra's are train wrecks, really???????? Now that's funny. Guess you need to school J.D powers and the others who consistently have given the Tundra high marks. As far as the rest of your posts, 5.3 has already schooled you.

Sadly it seems this site is filled with folks that prefer engage in sophomoric brand bashing along with a xenophobic reaction to anything that is not "American" made.

All I know is my two previous Gen I Tundra's were rock solid and my current Gen II DC RW has yet to give me any issues. Wish the same could be said for the "good ole union made American" trucks and cars I owned before switching to Toyota, LOL.

Enjoy whatever you drive, I know I do.

1980 longbed sr5 2wd 20r 5speed. 275,000 miles and counting. dual row timing chain, fully boxed frame front to rear, over built for a small truck. used this truck for many many years on job sites with only the addition of overload spring helpers. not fast not flashy but dead simple and reliable. as far as small trucks are concerned the best toyota has ever built. instead of trying to be the worlds largest mfr they built simple solid dependable trucks. i hope that ideal is not gone from their direction.

Pickups are not very space efficient, but Wagons & Vans are.
Ford is bringing a full size van that is lot more functional than pickups. I wish GM and Toyota brings panel vans which has 1 row seating with all rear space for freight.

Could it be that the increase in production is due to the Toyota / Tesla RAV4 EV? It is (was) scheduled to be released in 2012. I really want one. Hope they offer an AWD version.

VW makes a cool trucklet they sell down in Mex. Called a "Siever" or something like that. We see them cruising the streets now and then.

mike levine loss credibility when he went to work for ford.

This truck will be a Scion, and it is definitely coming as we have reported for over a year now.

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